|dc.description.abstract||Numerous studies on extensive reading have demonstrated its positive effects on language development. However, qualitative studies that reveal L2 learners' perceptions of extensive reading are limited. Learners’ motivation to read extensively, and motivational change in particular, is under-researched. Moreover, previous extensive reading research examines a narrow range of contexts, subjects, target languages and proficiency levels (e.g., predominantly studies with ESL/EFL learners) (Waring, 2001).
This study investigates how learners of Japanese as a Foreign Language (JFL) perceive extensive reading and explores change in their motivation to read extensively, as well as the influences behind any motivational change. It also looks at what separates participants who sustain motivation from those who do not.
Nine JFL learners in two New Zealand high schools participated in the extensive reading project in which they read as many graded readers or children's books as they could outside class over five to seven months. The data from interviews and journal entries were analysed inductively to build up a theory and discover important issues among the participants. Think-alouds, a motivational questionnaire, and classroom observations corroborated the data. Case studies were also presented to show the individual's perception and motivational change in depth.
Overall, the findings reveal that the participants perceived extensive reading positively. They reported a range of benefits (beliefs in a possible effect) and improvements (perception of an actual effect). They viewed graded readers as more suitable than children's books, and perceived that extensive reading was conducive to the end-of-year national examinations. However, individual differences were observed. Some participants perceived graded readers less positively than others did. Views on whether extensive reading should be voluntary or compulsory were divided.
The findings indicate that participants' motivation to read extensively was dynamic and complex. They experienced ups and downs in their motivation during the project. Numerous influences including contextual influences contributed to their motivational changes. The interplay of these influences led to change in motivation within an individual over time and individual differences. Also, negative influences were more powerful than positive influences.
Several implications are drawn from the findings. I maintain that voluntary extensive reading is desirable, but that reading should also be done in class in contexts and settings similar to this study. Graded readers with a wide range of topics and levels and glossaries need to be available to learners.
Importantly, the findings indicate that context, such as the New Zealand testing system, had a great influence on the participants' perceptions and their motivation to read extensively. Therefore, it is argued that extensive reading needs to be considered from the sociocognitive perspective.
Existing models of L2 motivation and L2 reading motivation, and a widely accepted motivation construct, were unable to fully capture the extensive reading motivation displayed in this study. Therefore, a dynamic model of motivation to read extensively in L2 was proposed.||en_NZ